Sorry, but it’s time to sound like a nerd. At least I’ve warned you…
Panniers. If you didn’t look away at the end of the first paragraph, you’re likely to have do so now but for the few of you left reading, panniers have been on my mind recently. Should I invest in new ones for the 2015 trip from Tarifa to Nordkapp? The current ones – a front and back set of Ortlieb Roller Classic panniers (blue) – have done me good service over the past few years in assisting me transport all my chattels from place to place across the continent twice, along the coast of Scotland and on numerous commutes to and from work. I wrote about them back in early 2010 prior to the Eurovelo 5 trip to Italy, I bought them shortly afterwards and even wrote a short piece about how to close them properly in June 2010, and here’s a picture of them brand new (when Reggie was also brand new with his original drop handlebars – they didn’t survive long!). On the downside, one of the attachments for one of the rear panniers is a bit bent and since replacing the front pannier rack last year (and having lost the little plastic inserts that would make them fit) they don’t, well, fit. None of this renders the panniers useless, au contraire! They would probably do me fine for many adventures yet to come but… well, like most people (although not all), I do like the idea of shiny new things, especially when they have been innovated and ‘improved’! “What?” I hear you cry, “The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers have been improved? Surely not…” Well yes, they have. No longer are they manufactured with [this is the nerdy bit] a QL1 fitting mechanism, not even a QL2 mechanism but the updated 2015 versions of the Ortlieb Roller Classic Pannier come with a QL 2.1 attachment fitted as standard. Wow! QL stands for ‘quick lock‘ and this is what CycloCamping.com has to say about the matter:
“QL1 and QL2 had been around for ever, while the QL3 came out on some Ortlieb gear in 2012, and the QL2.1 came out in 2015. Before 2015, the Ql1 system was found on the “CLASSIC” line, the QL2 on the “PLUS” line, and the QL3 system was designed for some panniers and bags usually used for commuting. Since 2015, the QL1 and QL2 system are no longer used, and all panniers “travel” use the QL2.1 system.“
So, forget QL3, that’s just for commuters. QL2.1 is the new kid on the block and has just replaced not just the QL1 but also the QL2. What we need is a nice little computer generated video to demonstrate just how wonderful the QL2.1 system is. Oh look; there’s one here!
Looks good, no? Then again, almost anything ever demonstrated in a computer generated video looks impressive. My favourite bit was the 1960s Batman style ‘klicks’. If you missed them, here’s one again… But am I really going to spend the best part of £200 replacing the old set of panniers with a set of almost identical ones just because the video makes them look cool and they go ‘klick’? Well, alas, I probably will… However, there is more. My current panniers are the Ortlieb Roller Classics. There is a range called the Ortlieb Roller Classic Pluses. Apart from a different material – the Classics are PVC, the Classic Pluses are made from ‘PS36C’ (whatever that is) which sells itself as being ‘non-PVC’ – just how different is the Classic from the Classic Plus?. Is PVC such a bad thing? I can only assume that it is. Can’t I find something more worthwhile to do with my money (or indeed my time)? Here are the technical specifications of the Pluses and here is a comparison of the entire Ortlieb range. I do like the look of the slate grey and black Pluses… Should I invest? Advice welcome.